Monday, November 07, 2005

Weekend (poker) Update

I’ll be popping some of my Neteller funds towards [THIS]. Full Tilt seems to be staking out some pretty serious ground in the post-Party breakup. Their “Learn from the Pros” show is the best (only?) strategy based poker show I can find, and has the added benefit of NOT having Norman Chad. It’s interesting to hear how the wheels turn for the pros while they’re playing, what they’re thinking their opponent is thinking, what they’re trying to make the opponent think they’re thinking, etc. The only thing that was comparable was the ESPN special that had Raymer providing voiceover for the final table at the WSOP, but that was only one man’s view.

Did I ever mention that limit home games are –EV financially? Well, for me, they are. Dropped $50 at a home game on Friday night. And the depressing part was that these guys made Party Poker fishes look like the Full Tilt Team. You really can’t imagine the joy of seeing pocket queens cracked by 92s on a rivered second pair after a raise preflop. Or AQ falling to 65s on a rivered flush. When six of eight players see every flop, whether raised or not, you’re almost completely dependent on hitting the flop. And I wasn’t hitting. I tried relaxing my opening hands, but still couldn’t hit to save my ass. I got J5o over a dozen times. It even got to the point where I would muck them preflop just to prove to the table how card dead I was. Sigh.

After I dropped my $50, I sweated a couple of guys and watched them limp with total garbage and hit jackpot flops. Like 84o hitting an A84 flop and taking down AK for a big pot. It killed me. Especially when they switched gears and decided to play no-limit for the last hour or so. Of course, it was made easier by the fact that everyone around the table had extra chips donated by yours truly. I saw all-ins on second pair. I saw all-ins on bottom pair. I saw all-ins on top pair, no kicker. It was brutal to watch. The best thing I heard is that they want to play mini-tournaments next time. Hmmm, I wonder who’s played more SnGs…

So on Saturday, I’m still titling from the losses and I drop two $25+2 SnGs. -$100 in less than 16 hours might not sound like a lot to most of you, but it’s 10% of my poker bankroll. Well, I made it all back yesterday by coming in first and third in two other SnGs, basically wiping out my losses from Friday and Saturday. Nothing special, just solid non-tilting play that seemed to follow mathematical norms. In other words, if I got my money in as the favorite, the hands held up. If I folded, I was usually behind and wouldn’t have hit anyway.

One of the key points I’ve learned that I am a slave to the mathematical variance. We all are, of course, but I make my decisions mostly based on probabilities and read. I tend to get my money in at the right times, which in the long run means financial success. Of course, it also leads to spectacular suckouts when VIAB. So I try to avoid early coin flips for all my chips. I even mucked AKs preflop yesterday to an early all-in. I had raised 3x from MP and got one caller before the button pushed all-in. Remember, this is early in a SnG and I had no notes on the player, so I had to make a quick decision on whether he had Aces or Kings (where I’d be a huge underdog), other pocket pair (weighted coin flip), or Ax (KQs was also possible, I suppose). I decided that it was too early to risk all my chips on a drawing hand like AKs against a likely pocket pair and mucked Slick. Oh, I won that SnG too.


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